Weather Blog

Dry streak: Six minutes short of history

Dry streak: Six minutes short of history
Radar image shows rain moving into the Puget Sound area at 12:58 a.m.
We thought it was in the bag. We had the plaque printed, the banquet room reserved and the champagne was chilling on ice.

No one was even paying attention to the clock. We assumed it was not a factor.

And then, a cold front offshore got a lead foot and zoomed ashore, arriving a few hours earlier than expected.

Still, if any rain was going to hold off until late morning at the earliest.

But a fateful green blob appeared on the radar. It was heading straight for Sea-Tac Airport. Yet it was only a few minutes to 1 a.m. and cementing the record. Nails were being bitten, toes were being nervously tapped, and eyes were shifting left and right.

Finally.... drip. Drip...drip drip drip drip.

Weary travelers departing or arriving at Sea-Tac on their red-eye flights probably had no idea the significance of the raindrops on the plane's windows.

It was only 12:49 a.m. -- yes some people thought the record was already broken, not realizing climate statistics are kept on standard time for consistency sake, which means the daily period is measured between the 1 a.m. time frames in the spring and summer.

But it still had to rain hard enough to measure in the rain bucket -- "Trace" doesn't count. It can sometimes drizzle for hours and not measure around Seattle.

12:53 a.m. -- it's been raining for four minutes. But yet still not enough to coerce the rain bucket's collection lever to record that 0.01" of an inch.

One minute later -- the fateful drop fell from the sky and struck the rain gauge.

The streak was gone in 300 seconds.

Dead at 29 days.

Six minutes short.

As our morning weathercaster Paul Deanno penned: "In about the time it takes to cook some burgers on the grill, we missed our shot at weather history."

It would only end up tying the record. The streak of 1982 gets to share the throne.

Seattleites snoozing away chock full of allergy medication with the four weeks' of pollen probably figured their suffering was at least going to be historic.

(But at least, the pollen should be much lower now. Many probably think: "who cares about some silly weather record? I want to breathe again!")

So now Seattle sinks away from the national spotlight, ironically done in by the rain that usually garners the attention.

But sun lovers, do not fret. This rainy day is but a blip on the radar. There are plenty more dry days in the forecast this summer, starting with next Monday.

Perhaps a memorial barbecue is in order, and as you sit there grilling those burgers, it'll be a nice reminder just how close we came to history.